Hygienic supplies from the coronavirus pandemic are clogging the sewer system in Philadelphia.
Residents, apparently, are flushing face masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment, or PPE, down their toilets. This is in addition to sanitary wipes, which also clog sewer system machinery. Countless utilities across the country have indicated that wipes are clogging their sewer systems.
The Philadelphia Water Department reports that it is removing about 100 pounds of these waste products a month now from its wastewater facilities. The department usually removes about 100 pounds a year.
“We are seeing a large increase in the amount of PPE and other items being discarded through people flushing these items down the toilet,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a statement. “This is taking a toll on our water treatment infrastructure and residents’ private property.”
Clogged pipes and inoperable pump stations increase the risk of sewage backups and pipe breaks.
Circle of Blue provides relevant, reliable, and actionable on-the-ground information about the world’s resource crises.